I often get asked the question “What is your book about?” and I must admit, I’m very bad at answering it. My mind gets tangled in spools of plot, unnecessary details and assorted nonsense. With that in mind and with a self-imposed countdown to the release of Blackout mixed in there, let’s get started with a breakdown of the universe of Ira Draconis.
I’m going to try and do one of these per day. The below is copied straight from Blackout, the next set will be all new content.
Before the End and Immediately After
Mankind had lived like kings, spreading its seeds of civilisation far and wide as its population exploded. Industry and technology helped to feed and satisfy man’s greed; from the earth’s riches came lead and iron and from them came conflict. Humanity has always thirsted for competition, and between sports, war and corporate jousting, it’s had its fair share. For a long time, it seemed as if another global war, one of utterly cataclysmic proportions, was on the horizon. With titanic steel monsters and weapons of mass destruction under the fingertips of every head-of-state imaginable, it would not have been long before the tensions reached a boiling point and a warlike society more dangerous and more violent in its advanced state than anything the twentieth century had to offer was unleashed upon itself. There were smaller wars here and there, old rivalries and grudges springing up, but the global conflict would have been catastrophic.
Then it happened. Cities in Eastern Europe fell silent, their presence disappearing in the blink of an eye. The Europeans panicked, a course of action that became justified extremely quickly. London seemed to be sucked into a bright blue vortex of energy, a catastrophe that sapped the electrical power from the city in a matter of moments. In a moment, England fell into darkness. The world stopped to breathe… Then Abuja shut down.
The world was over. Electricity stopped. Running water stopped. Agriculture stopped. Life stopped. Those lucky enough to have food stocks and stored water became people of importance. Any prior ties or titles, after a while, became meaningless. And very soon, human life became meaningless. Without the pressure of the crumbling governments to police them, violent people started to band together and started to be a law unto themselves. Empty bullet casings, freshly spent from some conflict or another, very quickly grew in importance. Man has always loved symbols and the appropriateness of an empty cartridge representing blood money was too much to pass up. Every shot made someone richer, so people were looking for excuses to fight. Militant groups banded together and set up shop wherever they could, like old-school gangsters marking out their turf.
Violence, of course, breeds violence and, perhaps due to demand or through pressure, the militias became somewhat more formal. For a long time, the concept of private military contractors had been a dead one but with the shutting down of states and parliaments, the corporate animal was free of its chains. The corporate economy, shedding its government ties, took over land on its own and sovereign states were replaced by companies and unions. PMCs and enterprising businessmen were the new ruling class. Thus, drug dealers, gangsters and murderers took over the world.
Through the marriage of business and battle, commercialised warfare was born. Mankind has a knack for creating celebrities and who better to celebrate than the man protecting your way of life? A new age of decadence may yet have been on the rise, gambling dens and advertisers latching onto the life-and-death madness of warfare. With electricity and conventional power practically dead, the overworked civic beast of burden had to backpedal. Steam, bronze gears and iron hammers started to replace the ubiquitous industrial factories, giving the surviving dregs of humanity something to do. They’ve made the best of a bad situation and fifty years on, life started to take up some form of normalcy. Normalcy defined by constant war, famine and degeneration.